Editor’s Note: The following Q&A, appearing in Truck Camper Magazine, features Lance Camper Manufacturing Corp. President Jack Cole detailing the company’s recent acquisition by REV Group.
REV Group announced the acquisition of Lance Campers on Jan. 12, 2018. The news broke via press release leaving many open questions.
Specifically, we wanted to know why Lance Campers was sold, how Lance Campers and REV Group got together, why it was a good match, and what was in it for Lance Campers, Lance dealers, and Lance customers.
TCM: Why did you decide to sell Lance Campers?
Jack: Jeff Souleles and I both knew we couldn’t run the company forever. I’m 68 and he’s 64.
Three years ago we started preparing the company for sale. The preparation boiled down to having audited financial statements for Lance Campers. Prior to this process, I didn’t feel we needed audited statements because Jeff and I were here every day and signed all the checks.
Our goal was to find a potential acquirer who was excited about our product line and brand. We wanted them to be as excited about Lance as much as we are. Jeff and I have managed Lance Campers for 53 years and want to see it go for at least another 53 years. We found a good partner in REV Group to accomplish that.
TCM: Tell us the story of how the REV Group acquisition came to be.
Jack: I got a phone call from REV Group’s president of Manufacturing. He asked me if we were interested in talking about selling the company and I told him that we would be glad to talk to them. It went from there. There were other interested companies who called about acquiring Lance, but we didn’t feel they were the right match.
TCM: How did you know that REV Group was the right match for Lance Campers, and vice versa?
Jack: One of the first things that happened after the initial inquiry is that I got a call from Tim Sullivan, the CEO of REV Group. During our twenty minute conversation, he asked if he could come out. Three days later he was here in California.
Jeff and I sat down with him for two to three hours. We showed him around our facility. He told us that he loved the Lance brand and product. He said that he only wanted to be involved with quality products and he wanted to help Lance Campers grow.
A week later Tim came out again. We went over operations and we got a good feeling from him. He is down to earth, level headed, and knows what he wants. It all clicked. He talked to us about the growth of REV Group and their recent acquisitions. He thought Lance Campers could be part of that.
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